In Nacnac v. People, only one bulllet killed victim after a warning shot

After the fatal shooting in Quezon City of an ex-military man allegedly suffering from some mental challenge, many people have turned to the case of Nacnac v. People (G.R. No. 191913, March 21, 2012) to justify the policeman's act of shooting the former twice. Here is why reliance on the Nacnac case fails.

The Nacnac case depends on the following five (5) circumstances that, in the mind of the Court, negated a conviction for the killing of the victim:
  1. The drunken state of the victim;
  2. The victim was also a police officer who was professionally trained at shooting;
  3. The warning shot fired by petitioner was ignored by the victim;
  4. A lawful order by petitioner was ignored by the victim; and
  5. The victim was known for his combative and drunken behavior.
The facts surrounding the Nacnac case was differentiated by the Supreme Court from current jurisprudence on unlawful aggression. The victim here was a trained police officer. He was inebriated and had disobeyed a lawful order in order to settle a score with someone using a police vehicle. A warning shot fired by a fellow police officer, his superior, was left unheeded as he reached for his own firearm and pointed it at petitioner. Petitioner was, therefore, justified in defending himself from an inebriated and disobedient colleague. Even if the Court were to disbelieve the claim that the victim pointed his firearm at petitioner, there would still be a finding of unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. (G.R. No. 191913, March 21, 2012)

A police officer is trained to shoot quickly and accurately. A police officer cannot earn his badge unless he can prove to his trainors that he can shoot out of the holster quickly and accurately. Given this factual backdrop, there is reasonable basis to presume that the appellant indeed felt his life was actually threatened. Facing an armed police officer like himself, who at that time, was standing a mere five meters from the appellant, the latter knew that he has to be quick on the draw. It is worth emphasizing that the victim, being a policeman himself, is presumed to be quick in firing. (G.R. No. 191913, March 21, 2012)

To successfully invoke self-defense, another requisite is that the means employed by the accused must be reasonably commensurate to the nature and the extent of the attack sought to be averted. The means employed by the person invoking self-defense is reasonable if equivalent to the means of attack used by the original aggressor. Whether or not the means of self-defense is reasonable depends upon the nature or quality of the weapon, the physical condition, the character, the size and other circumstances of the aggressor; as well as those of the person who invokes self-defense; and also the place and the occasion of the assault. (G.R. No. 191913, March 21, 2012)

In the Nacnac case, the lone wound inflicted on the victim supports the argument that petitioner feared for his life and only shot the victim to defend himself. The lone gunshot was a reasonable means chosen by petitioner in defending himself in view of the proximity of the armed victim, his drunken state, disobedience of an unlawful order, and failure to stand down despite a warning shot. (G.R. No. 191913, March 21, 2012)

In conclusion, the Supreme Court convinced that petitioner Nacnac was only defending himself on the night he shot his fellow police officer. He gave the victim a lawful order and fired a warning shot before shooting the armed and drunk victim. Absent from the shooting incident was any evidence on petitioner sufficiently provoking the victim prior to the shooting. (G.R. No. 191913, March 21, 2012)

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